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Top 11 Halloween Movies

October 27, 2013

So I am attempting one (actually three) of these top 11 lists again.  Again, my criteria are my own.  These are supposed to feel like Halloween to me.  There is also a horror:comedy ratio that I followed in that there can’t be more comedy than horror although that too is debatable.   I left a lot of movies that I like and hate out of these lists but you gotta do what you gotta do.  Also, I still haven’t seen a lot of good or bad horror.  Here we go.


Top 11 Halloween Films

1 The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – While this film is more heartwarming than scary, it is a Halloween movie through and through.  You can definitely see the Tim Burton touch in this movie but people tend to forget that Harry Selick actually directed it and it shows.  It’s not as super Tim Burton-y which is a really good thing.

2 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) – I watched a few of the Halloween movies but I found them boring.  I might be in the wrong but it felt like a more serious take on Friday the 13th.  I finally caught #3 much later in life and got a real kick out of it. I really wish they had continued their idea to do a Halloween anthology series. This movie scared the crap out of me all the way to the very end.

3 Cabin in the Woods (2011) – I have said it before and I will continue to say it.  The scariest thing in the world to me is the loss of self.  That said, this movie has the right mix of quirky comedy and scary chills.  I really do not want to give anymore away.  Watch this movie.

4 Evil Dead 2 (1987) – I became a huge Sam Raimi fan from an early age.  I do like the original Evil Dead but I prefer the more polished Evil Dead 2 because it has a lot more comedy while still having horrifying concepts.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I’m also a huge Bruce Campbell fan.

5 From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – While this movie isn’t always really scary, it definitely has some great horror effects and neat vampire mythology. Surprisingly, this movie has a lot of really good actors in it doing a great job.  I will always remember this movie as one my mom walked out on.

6 The Thing (1982) – I love my horror films to be psychological and the sense of isolation and paranoia in The Thing hits you right in the core.  The visual effects are just so creepy and the creature design is the most imaginitive this side of Guillermo Del Toro.

7 The Shining (1980) – I don’t really have to write much about this one as I feel the majority of people have seen this movie.  I like an adaptation of Stephen King which cuts the fat away and dives more into the characters and the real fear of the situations.

8 1408 (2007) – Another pretty effective psychological film that deals with far scarier things than ghosts and goblins.  This is how you do a haunted house film.  Not a lot of subtlety but a great sense of despair that tugs at your guts.  It’s another great example of somebody trimming a Stephen King story to the scary essentials.

9 New Nightmare (1994) – Yeah, I know this movie is wading deep into the sequels of Nightmare on Elm Street but I always liked it.  The “meta” nature of the film and tying it in with Grimm Fairy Tales are combined with the usual comedy and gore.  I felt a lot of the previous sequels had added too much back story and this returned Freddy back to being more monster than man.

10 What Lies Beneath (2000) – I feel like this movie was very much underrated as a thriller/horror film.  The movie does a good job of building tension but not exactly releasing it until the very end.  As it is a mystery, I don’t want to reveal much but it was another movie my mother walked out of.

11 Phantasm (1979) – I remember first watching this on my birthday actually which is almost 2 months after Halloween.  The movie is actually pretty creepy and really works on what appears to be a low budget.  Sure, I remember not knowing what the hell was going on by the end but the movie was definitely creepy.

Honorable Mentions: Red State (2011), Beetlejuice (1988), Constantine (2005), The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971),

Top 11 So Bad They’re Good Halloween Films

1 Maximum Overdrive (1986) – I rented this movie pretty young because Holter Graham came to speak at our middle school because he graduated from there.  Like a lot of Stephen King stories, the premise is weird and potentially terrifying.  However, this film is rarely scary but definitely enjoyable.

2 Ghost Shark (2013) – Get ready for absolute silliness and the most contrived movie since Sharknado.  Still, this movie had me dropping my jaw and then laughing at the lengths they went to.  Basically, it’s about a shark that is now a ghost.

3 Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) – Is this movie silly? Yes.  I still enjoy it.  Also, if you think about it, it is the movie where Jason achieves the highest bodycount.

4 Puppet Master II (1991) – To be honest, all of the Puppet Master movies pretty much blur together for me.  After the first one, they actually did a good job with the effects and not having the puppets talk saves it from being another Childs Play.

5 Leprechaun (1993) – Who would have thought that Warwick Davis could be so creepy?  Sure the movie suffers from a cast so bad that Jennifer Aniston stands out but I still enjoy it.  You may find yourself laughing more times than you feel scared.

6 Freddy Vs. Jason (2003) – I was looking forward to this clash of titans like a lot of horror films.  When the movie was finally released, I got exactly what I was expecting.  Tonally, the movie seemed to lean towards a Nightmare on Elm Street movie which is alright by me because I like the dark comedy of Freddy movies.

7 Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) – I’m not going to lie, I have always been at least a little afraid of clowns.  Parts of this movie actually scared me even though I look back and realize that it is a very silly movie.

8 Troll 2 (1990) – A movie that is neither a sequel to Troll nor does it even have a single troll in it.  Horrible acting, horrible effects but an admittedly terrifying premise.  You’ll end up rolling your eyes a lot at this movie but I have to admit that when I was a lot younger, this movie scared the piss out of me.

9 The Frighteners (1996) – I went back and watched this movie after seeing Lord of the Rings because I had not yet discovered Peter Jackson.  It was fun to see a non-scary ghost story that was both interesting and not something stupid like Ghost Dad.  Points for Michael J. Fox.

10 Sleepaway Camp (1983) – I don’t want to spoil this movie but it does hold a twisted little place in my heart.  All I can say is: No matter how hokey and silly the movie gets, watch all the way until the end. Also, just skip every single sequel.

11 The Tripper (2006) – Can you think of anything more terrifying and goofy than Ronald Reagan as a psycho killer who kills hippies? ‘Nuff said.

Honorable Mentions: Childs Play (1988), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), The Mangler (1995)
Bottom 11 Just Bad Halloween Films (and I’m going to cheat and make them in no particular order because they’re all just so so awful. It’s like the reverse of Sophie’s Choice even though I have not actually watched that film.  Why aren’t you reading the list yet?)

– The Mist (2007) – Sure this film had some jump scares and there is a big use of the fear of the unknown.  However, the ending ruins the whole movie and the script is way too busy and things seem to happen for no reason.

– The Wicker Man (2006) – I never saw the original but the Nic Cage version is stunningly bad.  It’s a fun movie to make fun of but watching it is just painful. Stick to reading a funny review or clips of this one. It’s funnier out of context.

– Evil Bong (2006) – Stoner humor is not funny anymore.  I am not sure if it was ever funny to me.  Throwing stoner humor into a horror film just made me want to eject the DVD on this one.  For some reason, I stuck with the whole movie.  I was such a masochist sometimes.

– Book of Shadows : Blair Witch 2 (2000) – Even though it takes place in my beloved home state, this movie is horrible.  The characters are unlikeable and at the end of the movie you have no idea what in the hell happened.  It’s not mysterious and open-ended, it’s annoying and a waste of time.

– REC (2007) – Alright this is basically just one of the more high profile choices of a genre that I hate.  I hate handheld, found footage horror films.  Actually, I pretty much hate anything found footage as they give me headaches and I think they are lazy.  Found footage always struck me as film’s response to reality television.

– The Haunting (1999) – Every other minute of this movie acts like it is saying “This is scary, I swear. Are you scared yet?”. The answer is no.  I am bored.  Not even Liam Neeson can save this one.

– The Langoliers (1995) – I am cheating a little bit as this is actually a two part miniseries which makes it one long horror film where not much horror, terror or anything happens. Everything is pretty bland and even the concept makes little sense unless you’re really stoned.  At least you get to see Bronson Pinchot overact horribly but just go watch Perfect Strangers or Beverly Hills Cop III for that.

– Cabin Fever (2002) – The movie that proved that Eli Roth should never ever write or direct again. Unfortunately, Hollywood did not heed the terrible signs and to this day keeps putting him in charge of movies.

– House of 1000 Corpses (2003) – Oh my God this was a horrible movie.  It was made around the advent of so-called “murder porn” movies and I saw it as basically a snuff film.  I had given up on any of the victims surviving about 30 minutes in and therefore all of the tension in the script was gone.  It was just not my speed

– House of Wax (2005) – First, let’s get the obvious out of the way.  Paris Hilton is in this movie.  Second, Jared Padalecki is there but no Jensen Ackles to back him up in saving the day.  Third, it’s boring.

– Jack Brooks: Monster Hunter (2007) – This movie is boring.  You can pretty much ignore the subtitle because there is not much actual monster hunting or monsters until late in the film.  Really, the only good thing in the movie was Robert Englund’s mugging and you can get that from far better horror movies.

Dishonorable Mentions: Saw (2004), Jeepers Creepers (2001), Wrong Turn (2003)

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